RONDA has had a royal visit.

The King and Queen of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander and Maxima, visited the iconic Andalucian town to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary over the weekend.

Like any normal couple, they booked themselves in for dinner at the restaurant Almocabar – and chatted and made jokes with their fellow diners, the Olive Press can reveal.

They also had a private tour of the town and stayed at the Parador hotel overlooking the famous Tajo gorge.

Monolo Arias, owner of Almocabar told the Olive Press they seemed ‘very normal’ and chatted easily with other diners, even later posing for photographs with staff.

“We were as surprised as everyone else – they came in incognito and booked a table through the hotel … we had no idea who they were!”

He added: “They were just really friendly…she is Argentinian and spoke to me in Spanish, perfect Castellano, while I spoke to him in English.”

The pair feasted on typical Andalucian dishes with fresh produce from the local area, and picked a great Spanish wine.

“They ate wild grilled asparagus, fresh foie with berries, Rabo de Toro and roast lamb accompanied by a €150 vintage of Pago de Carraovejas,” continues Arias, a self-taught chef, whose restaurant has been a local dining secret for two decades.

“They were squeezed in like everyone else (it was actually quite uncomfortable as we were very busy that night) but they didn’t complain … they chatted to a couple of tables next to them in English – a British guy and his girlfriend from La Linea – and they never guessed they were royals.

“However, a Dutch couple sitting on a neighbouring table did a double take when they recognised them! They couldn’t believe it and came over later to say hello.”

It was a romantic return to Andalucia for the couple, who first met during the April Fair in Sevilla in 1999 and married three years later on February 2, 2002, in Amsterdam. 

Royal nuptials. Photo: Jeroen van der Meyde/

At the time the marriage was controversial as Maxima’s father, Jorge Zorreguieta, had been a prominent member of the Argentinian military dictatorship. 

The couple have three daughters, the Princess of Orange, Princess Alexia, and Princess Ariane.

As well as Ronda, the pair visited Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada and Jerez de la Frontera on their whistle-stop anniversary tour of Andalucia.


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